Flipper Zero Unboxing

One9twO
2 min readDec 20, 2023

It’s been ages since I played with electronics. Now I’m in the Security profession, I decided to pick a toy for pen-testing physical security without having to solder things together or bringing bulky items along.

I ordered Flipper Zero on https://shop.flipperzero.one/ which arrived in > a week. The USPS package came intact. However, one side of the Flipper Zero box was sliced open (a flap was sliced off completely). Either the device was used (which I totally wouldn’t mind but I would be happier if I paid less than a new device), or perhaps a Man in the Middle has opened it to track whether I’m opening garage doors other than my own.

I tried to use it out of the box. But almost every functionality required a firmware update first. This was another bummer. It should come with a set of minimal functionalities. And I expected it to stand out from consumer electronics as a ‘hacker tool’, which allows users to choose when they want a firmware update.

Anyway I have updated the firmware with some sweating. Notes here:

  • my paranoia made me install qFlipper on a Raspberry Pi which I can easily wipe/reinstall. Which is a wrong choice.
  • The qFlipper AppImage couldn’t run on my Raspberry Pi. So I installed it from Raspbian’s package manager (Start -> Preferences -> Add / Remove Software, then search for qflipper)
  • the SD card must be formatted (under System -> Storage). Otherwise a firmware update will error out with some manifest file error.
  • I also had a timeout error during firmware update. I rebooted the Raspberry Pi and tried again. The update in qFlipper app still errored out. But the new firmware somehow got into the device. The LED turned from yellow to green and the screen showed ‘Updating’ (which was actually stuck)
  • I rebooted Flipper Zero (with LEFT + BACK buttons together). The cycle of errors repeated itself.
  • I rebooted Flipper Zero with System -> Power -> Reboot -> reboot for firmware update. It went into ‘Update and Recover Mode’ but it was stuck for about 1 hour.
  • I downloaded the firmware and installed with the ‘Install from file’ option in qFlipper. Halfway the device was bricked. It wouldn’t power on. These instructions for repair worked https://docs.flipper.net/basics/firmware-update/firmware-recovery#tSOGv

A check on dmesg in my Raspberry Pi showed some USB error like the following

timed out waiting for fsm no transfer to complete on 0

Finally I gave up on Raspberry Pi. And used a Ubuntu workstation to update the firmware.

Overall this was not a sweat-free unboxing experience. I’m probably biased because I tried to use a Raspberry PI.

/giphy meh

--

--